Knee sensorimotor control following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: A comparison between reconstruction techniques

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 15;13(11):e0205658. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205658. eCollection 2018.


The sensorimotor system helps to maintain functional joint stability during movement. After anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reconstruction, several sensorimotor deficits may arise, including altered proprioception and changes in neuromuscular control. It is still unknown whether the type of autograft used in the reconstruction may influence knee sensorimotor impairments. The aim of this study was to comparatively assess the effects of the hamstring tendon (HT) and bone-patellar tendon-bone (BPTB) ACL reconstruction techniques on knee sensorimotor control 6-12 months post-operation. A total of 83 male subjects participated in this study: 27 healthy participants, 30 BPTB-operated patients and 26 HT-operated patients. Active joint position sense in 3 ranges of motion (90-60°, 60-30°, and 30-0° of knee flexion), isometric steadiness, and onset of muscle activation were used to compare sensorimotor system function between groups. Both operated groups had a small (< 5°) but significant joint position sense error in the 30-0° range when compared to the healthy group. No significant differences were found between the operated and the control groups for isometric steadiness or onset of muscle activation. The results of this study suggest that operated patients present knee proprioceptive deficits independently of surgical technique. Nevertheless, the clinical implications of this impairment are still unknown. It seems that selected surgical approach for ACL reconstruction do not affect functioning of the sensorimotor system to a large degree.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiopathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / physiopathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiopathology
  • Tendons / physiopathology
  • Tendons / surgery*
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.7170368

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work. Clínica MEDS provided support in the form of salaries for authors CSMM, ICS and CO, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.